HIS 350L • Revolutionary Russia - W
The revolutionary turmoil of the 1917 Revolutions, and the Civil War the Communists' seizure of power triggered, allow us to examine in depth the political, social, economic, and cultural dynamics at work in early twentieth-century Russia. The Russian Revolution, which began in 1905, provides much of the prism through which we view processes of revolutionary change. Moreover, the mass and variety of scholarly attention lavished on it makes Revolutionary Russia an ideal subject for studying different approaches to history. The issue of possible alternative outcomes, which has always engaged Western historians of the Russian Revolution, is now of considerable interest in the former Soviet Union, which once again finds itself in a state of flux, facing an uncertain future.
This course contains a substantial writing component. During the course of the semester students will write three critical reviews of assigned reading, four-five pages in length each, and a six-page final essay. Be sure to heed my writing tips. In addition, by 1:00 each Wednesday (except for the four classes when essays are due) students will e-mail me four questions dealing with that week's reading.
The final grade is based on the essays (65%), weekly questions (10%), and classroom participation (25%). Each student is expected to participate fully in class discussions and will be graded on the extent and quality of participation. It is therefore mandatory that you complete the assigned readings before each class session and come to class prepared to discuss the readings. The course will not work otherwise.
Some of the readings will analyze the revolutionary process. Others will convey the excitement and suffering in the streets. In addition, short documents may be distributed in class. Read, Christopher. From Tsar to Soviets. Pipes, Richard. A Concise History of the Russian Revolution. Figes, Orlando. A People's Tragedy. *Course Packet: Selections from the Packet are noted by an asterisk in the Weekly Schedule. The Packet is available from Pardigm, 407 W. 24th St., 472-7986